Firstly, let me welcome you to the first blog of 2019! Time seems to be moving ever faster but what a glorious start to the year it has been. On our way up to our holiday accommodation, I was musing….mesmerised by the glorious scenery along the way, inspired by the colour palette that Mother Nature created for us. I was dreaming about ways I could use these palettes in another creative project.
One tree that continued to catch my eye along the way were the gum trees. The streaky trunks painted in watercolours bleeding into one another: muted greys, mauves, soft golds, dustry pinks, aubergines and chocolate.
The summer skin of the gums standing there strong and proud…freshly naked. Freshly shed, brilliant bright orange in colour: an intoxicating tequila sunrise.
And who could forget the ghostly white gum tree? Pale and creamy, illuminated against the backdrop of bright blue skies, and the thick green scrub.
Like many others I’m sure, I had assumed all gum trees were native to Australia, so like me you may be surprised to find that this is actually not the case.
One evening I was chatting to one of my best friends, who just so happens to be a very talented, inspired florist. She was talking about this AMAZING variety of Eucalyptus, The Rainbow Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus deglupta. I’d never seen it or heard of it for that matter!
The Rainbow Eucalyptus is also known as the Rainbow Gum or Mindanao Gum and is native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and The Phillipines. But what is also pretty unique is that this is the only Eucalyptus that extends into the northern hemisphere naturally.
In areas of the USA, the trees only grow to approx 100-125 feet tall, which is approximately half the height they grow to in their native environment. But, if you can provide them with a frost free environment, you can grow a Rainbow Gum of your own…though remember it is a huge tree so it’s probably not suitable for most residential settings.
The defining feature of the Rainbow Eucalyptus is the multi coloured bark. The older bark sheds each year, at different times, revealing the new layers of bright, lime green trunk underneath. As the new layers age and mature, the colour changes and deepens, revealing a multitude of vertical coloured stripes: in lime green, blue, purple, orange, red, maroon and grey.
The colours appear brightest and most intense when planted in native regions. The Rainbow Eucalyptus loves full sun, and rich, medium to wet soil. It does not tolerate frost, so is suitable for subtropical and tropical regions only.
It is the kind of plant that is almost unbelievable. But believe me, it’s real, and this is all completely natural. Wow!